Hunt on for missing national treasure

Image: Chosun Central TV

North Korean authorities have issued a
nationwide directive to track down a national treasure that has recently turned
up missing: a gold ring worn by Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Un’s grandmother, a
figure propagated throughout North Korea’s official historical accounts as a paradigm
for the population. 

“There was an urgent inminban (people’s
unit) meeting late at night on the 11th, when the ring was stolen from the
Chosun Revolutionary Museum,” a source in Yangkang Province told Daily NK on
the 28th via phone. “Every security agent is on emergency duty and under strict
orders nationwide to report the issues to residents.”

Inminban meetings are being carried out
concurrently throughout the country, during which people are told to report to
the authorities immediately if they know anything about the incident. “Because
the ring was worn by one of the three most important members of the Kim dynasty
(Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Suk, and Kim Jong Il), the state sees the heist as a
direct challenge to the monolithic leadership system,” she explained.

According to the information circulating at
the inminban meetings, the stolen ring is 18k gold and features a prominent
inscription of the year of it was made—an attribute the authorities hope will draw
attention to anyone brazen enough to attempt to pawn it off.

Naturally, most are perplexed at how
someone would even be able to pull off lifting anything from the heavily
fortified building. The source, equally surprised, surmised that someone
capitalized on the recent “turbulent social climate” (Hyon Yong
Chol’s execution) to devise a plan and make it away with the precious band.

Opinion on the ground borders on the
incredulous, as any item housed in that museum is a national treasure, meaning
that “there is no way the thief is unaware that his or her life is at risk.”
Still, most feel the frantic lectures at the inminban meetings will do little, if anything, to track
down the ring, according to the source.

The Chosun Revolutionary Museum, located on
Mansu Hill in Pyongyang, inundates visitors with countless statues and memorabilia
of the nation’s two late leaders. Previously known as the National Central
Liberation Struggle Museum since its establishment in 1948 in Pyongyang’s
Central District, the current facility rests on Mansu Hill since its rebranding
in 1960.  

North Korea’s state-run Chosun Central TV
aired a series in 2012 dedicated to the story behind the ring, purportedly bestowed on Kim
Jong Suk by Kim Il Sung in 1938 for her alleged role fighting in the
anti-Japanese guerilla movement led by nation’s future founder.

*The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group.

Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to